Cable Railing Parts Guide

Cable Railing Guide

Designed for the DIY homeowner, cable railing is a power player in the horizontal railing industry. With simple components and clearly labeled hardware, cable railing is ideal for indoor or outdoor projects. You can even order the system in stainless steel for coastal applications.

Cable railing is ideal for three primary reasons:

  • Sleek lines of cable make it easy to see what’s beyond
  • Cable has a sharp, minimalistic look that traditional railing does not typically offer.
  • It has natural strength and architectural integrity.

Read on for cable railing guide to the different parts of the cable railing system — and how it is well suited for your deck or stairway.

Cable Railing Posts

What are they?stainless steel cable railing post

Put simply, cable railing posts are built to support an entire system. They stabilize the cable wire, so it does not deflect over time. They also support the handrail — whether it’s wood, stainless steel, or aluminum — allowing it to maintain its straight shape over time.

What benefits do they have?

Posts for cable railing are specially built to hide all the components of the system. Many outdoor railing posts are bulky, with protruding hardware that poses a safety hazard, and distracts from the aesthetic.

Cable railing posts, on the other hand, contain special equipment that connects the cable wires on the inside of the post. They even come in special designs that allow your system to turn a corner.

What do I need to install them?

Posts are the first — and one of the most critical — steps in the installation process. You’ll need foot covers and handrail brackets, an installation kit, and a few basic hand tools like a power drill and driver.

Each aluminum or steel post is custom made for your project to make the installation process easier. You’ll send us measurements, and we’ll pre-drill holes at the exact spacing, alignment, and angle you need.

Depending on which Cable Railing Kit you’re installing, you should have the Cable Rail Installation Kit, DriveTite Installation Kit, or both. Each tool kit has all the specialized tools you need to easily mount the posts directly to your deck or stair treads.

What are they made out of?brushed stainless steel finish on post

Cable railing posts are made from either:

  • 304 Stainless Steel
  • 2205 Stainless Steel
  • Aluminum

What Kind of Post Should I Use?

Here’s a handy guide to the different kinds of posts available — and which will work best with your cable railing system.

“I want the post to go on top of my level deck or stair treads.”

Use a Surface Mount Post. These posts are designed with level hardware to mount flush against your deck or treads.

Available in the following materials:

  • 2205 Stainless Steel
  • Aluminum – interior or exterior
  • 304 Stainless Steel – interior or exteriorcable railing post for level runcable railing post for angled run

Available in 36”, 39”, or 42” handrail heights

Available in the following colors:

  • Brushed Stainless
  • Black
  • Bone White
  • Colonial Grey
  • Fashion Grey
  • And more

“I want to conserve space on my staircase or deck.”

Use a Side Mount Post. These posts are designed to mount to the side of stair treads and decks. With enough blocking depth and height (6″) for mounting, you can mount these posts directly to the fascia board of your deck. This helps you save extra space on your deck by moving the post from the edges of your deck to the sides. If you’re mounting on a stairway, just be sure that you have enough room on each side of the staircase to clear the ceiling line.

side mount cable railing post

“I want to install the post on my concrete deck or patio.”

I need a post with extra structural support, or I want to install somewhere other than a wood deck.

Use a Concrete Mount Post. These posts are built with a larger base foot — providing extra support. They use fasteners designed for projects other than wood decks. There is also a core drill post option which allows you to place the post directly into the ground.

Cable railing post for concrete

 

How should I space my posts?

We recommend placing posts no greater than 4 feet apart. Building code requires that the spacing of posts not exceed an amount that increases deflection, and placing a post every 4 feet helps reduce deflection. In other words, it keeps your railing from sagging and your handrail will remain strong over time.

Universal Top cable railing post
Universal Top Posts
  • Ideal for an angled deck or angled stairs
  • Available in all powder coat finishes
  • Adjustable bracket functionality
  • Each post has a socket screw for simple installation
Flat Top cable railing post
Flat Top Posts
  • Ideal for a level deck or level stair treads
  • Available in all powder coat finishes
  • Minimalist Design
  • Sturdy design

Cable railing handrail

handrail for modern railing systemsWhat is it?

Handrail for cable railing is built to add stability and strength to the system. Because people will use the handrail to grasp, a handrail’s most important job is to last. It is supported by the cable railing posts, and typically mounted to the wall.

What benefits does it have?

Handrail for cable railing is specifically built to be a barrier from falling. But it also does the important job of finishing off the aesthetic of your system.

For example, pairing cable railing with a metal handrail is a sleek, modern statement. This kind of look is popular in minimalist homes — and it also gives a great industrial modern look.

But cable railing can also be matched with wood handrail. This is a great way to pare down the industrial modern vibes with a slightly more traditional statement.

What is it made out of?
Cable railing handrail is made from either:

  • Wood – a variety of options, including Ash, Hard Maple, and Red Oak
  • Stainless Steel – Interior, Exterior, Coastal, or Extreme Coastal
  • Aluminum – Interior or Exterior

A Guide to using Metal HandrailMetal Handrail 1″ x 2″

If you’re installing metal handrail — stainless steel or aluminum — you may need to cut it onsite to the right length. You will need a chop saw with a stainless steel cutting blade. A chop saw cuts straight, 90º angles.

You’ll also need handrail brackets to secure the handrail to the posts. Brackets are available with 90° orientations for connecting to the posts.

A Guide to using Wood Handrail

Wood handrail is often used in slightly more traditional homes. If you’re installing wood handrail indoors, you may need to cut it onsite to the correct length. Use a chop saw to cut the handrail to the correct length.

If you’re dealing with a corner, you may either butt the pieces of handrail together or miter each piece at a 45° angle and glue the pieces.

6000 HandrailTo mount handrail to the wall, line everything up — handrail brackets, railing components — without screwing it into place. Next, take a pencil or marker and mark all the holes for drilling. Drill the holes using the attachment as a guide. Then, place all the components back on and screw them into place.

If you’re installing wood handrail outdoors, you’ll need to use Endurance Series wood. This is a type of wood that is thermally modified to withstand all the natural enemies of the outdoors — moisture, rot, mildews, and the elements. The wood is engineered without chemicals, so it’s a renewable resource from start to finish.

Cable Railing Kits & Wiring

The DriveTite Kits: What are they?

Cable railing posts have the unique mission of hiding all the components neatly inside. DriveTite accomplishes that mission in wood posts with hidden fastener technology.

Each DriveTite kit contains all the tools needed to tension one end of cable on either an angled or level run. Each component is custom manufactured from premium marine-grade 2205 duplex stainless steel.

You have two different options when it comes to DriveTite:

  1. The DriveTite Crimped (Standard) Kit VR298 (Use with the DriveTite Crimped Install Kit)
  2. The DriveTite Surface Kit VR296, or (Use with the DriveTite Surface Install Kit)

DriveTite Crimped Kit

Also known as DriveTite Standard, the DriveTite Crimped Cable Railing Kit can be used for angled or level projects. Unlike DriveTite Surface, below, this kit doesn’t use a surface cover — so it results in a cleaner look. However, it is a slightly more time-intensive installation.

This kit can be used with solid posts at least 4″ thick.

The kit includes:

  • a tensioning screw
  • a barrel fitting
  • a cable stop
  • a wood angle insert, and
  • a 2 oz bottle of Screw WaxVR298 - DriveTite Kit (crimped) Diagram

DriveTite Crimped Installation Kit

This kit is contains all the necessary tools for you to install the DriveTite Crimped Kit (above) — saving you valuable time and effort.

The kit includes:

  • a pair of Modified Pliers
  • a Cable Cutter
  • a 6″ T-30 Bit
  • an Insert Sleeve Driver
  • a 11/16″ Forstner Bit
  • a Bundle of String
  • a 2 oz bottle of Screw Wax

DriveTite Surface Kit

The DriveTite Surface Cable Railing Kit uses a simple tensioning screw and barrel fitting to mount to the surface of a wood post . It doesn’t require a single bore hole. The only drilling necessary is an small pilot hole.

This kit has a simpler installation than DriveTite Crimped. The end result shows visible surface caps.

One of the greatest benefits of this kit is that it only needs a little backing material to hold to for installation — so it’s useful for mounting cable railing into tricky corners or ceiling lines.

This kit can be used to mount cable railing to solid posts that are at least 2 ½” thick. It can also mount to hollow posts that contain at least 1 ½” thick walls.

The kit includes:

  • a tensioning screw
  • a barrel fitting
  • a cable wedge
  • a surface cover
  • a 2 oz bottle of screw wax, and
  • a tube of silicon to secure the surface cover to the postDriveTite Surface Kit – VR296 diagram

DriveTite Surface Installation Kit

This kit is designed to be used with the DriveTite Surface Kit (above). It contains all the tools you need — saving you a trip to the hardware store, while ensuring that you have the right tools for the job.

The kit includes:

  • modified pliers
  • a cable cutter
  • a 6” T-30 Bit
  • an insert sleeve driver
  • a bundle of string
  • a 2 oz bottle of screw wax

Cutting cable

First, you’ll measure the distance from one post to another in order to determine how much cable you need. Then, mark your cable and cut.

Use special Cable Cutters (included in both the Surface Installation and Crimped Installation kit) to cut the cable. We recommend cutting and crimping one cable at a time.

Cable Rail Cutters

 

Threading cable through

First, put the threaded crimp fitting through the hole of a tensioning post, and thread the tension receiver on the threaded crimp fitting. Tighten it by 4 turns.

If your posts are for an angle application, be sure to add the Angle Washer to the Tension Receiver before threading into the Threaded Crimp Fitting.

Next, thread the cable through each post.

If you’re using adhesive sleeves… it’s time to apply them!

  1. Use a clean rag to wipe the post where the sleeves will be installed.
  2. Peel the backing off but don’t touch the adhesive.
  3. Press the sleeve against the post, applying moderate pressure for 3-5 seconds.

Wire

Cable Railing WirePlace the guide pin in the end of the threaded crimp fitting, and use it to line up the threads with the Tension Receiver at your final post. Make the cables snug, but don’t tighten them until you have all the cables threaded and tensioned.

Once all your cables are threaded, tighten the cable at the middle of the post using your Allen Wrench and Tightening Tool (included in both the Surface Installation and Crimped Installation kit). Work out from the middle, tightening from each end so that the Threaded Crimp Fitting is into the post far enough that the sleeve can be inserted.

Stop tightening once the cable is taut. Use the Tightening Tool to hold the fittings in place while tightening, and don’t allow the cable to spin while tightening.

If you’re installing on an angle, crimp and attach the bottom end first. This will allow gravity to help hold the guide pin in place when aligning and attaching tension receivers at the top.

If you’re using steel insert sleeves… it’s time to apply them!
Put the sleeves on the cable as it is being strung through the posts.
Tap them in using the wood block provided in your tool kit.

Cable Railing Wire is sold in bundles.

Conclusion

That’s it! You’re all set to purchase a cable railing system for you stairs, deck, or anywhere else. If you’re looking for more information check out the related topics sections or contact our experts by phone at (574) 742-1030.

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